Bob Bennett worked at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. for 28 years, starting in 1971 in product planning and then working in service, distribution and parts logistics. Bennett, 64, recalls the early days of Toyota getting its cars from New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.:
"We were buying the cars from NUMMI without a warranty, which made us very concerned. Everyone was concerned about quality because of the history of that plant having been GM's worst quality and worst labor relations plant in the system. And 90 percent of the people hired were the same people that worked there before.
"We also were sourcing far more products and components from local suppliers. The challenge we had was that we were a pure sales company. We had to now become a sales and a manufacturing company within North America. So a number of our early efforts, working with plants and working with local suppliers and developing a quality assurance program for locally sourced products, were all developed at that time."